10 Online Schools That Accept FAFSA (and How to Get Financial Aid) | Student Loan Planner (2024)

To limit the spread of the coronavirusin 2020 and 2021, many traditional colleges encouraged (or require) their students to transition to online study. This drastically expanded the number of online schools that accept the FAFSA, also known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Consider online-only colleges with lower tuition rates. Also, you might want to enroll in an online degree program from a university in a different state if it happens to specialize in your specific degree path.

But can you get financial aid for online college? Well, it depends on the school that you choose. Although many popular online colleges, such as the University of Phoenix and American Public University,accept federal financial aid, other online schools don’t.

If you’re hoping to take advantage of federal student loansor grant programs, choosing a school that can accept financial aid will be imperative. Below, we list several online schools that accept FAFSA and a few that don’t. Additionally, we explain how to find FAFSA-approved online colleges for prospective students.


Table of Contents hide

1. 9 online schools that accept FAFSA

2. Online schools that don’t accept FAFSA

3. How to find FAFSA-approved online colleges

4. How to apply for federal financial aid for online schools that accept FAFSA

5. Other financial aid options for online college students

9 online schools that accept FAFSA

Many of the most popular online schools accept FAFSA, aka federal financial aid. Here’s a quick list of 10 online schools with financial aid (ordered alphabetically):

1. American Public University

Institutional accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Programmatic accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and Council on Education for Public Health

Popular programs: Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Health Studies, Management, Sports and Health Sciences

Location: Charles Town, West Virginia

Financial aid office contact:

Phone: 1-877-755-2787
Email: finaid@apus.edu

2. Arizona State University

Institutional accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Programmatic accreditation:

  • American Psychological Association, Commission on Accreditation
  • The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
  • The Council of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar

Popular programs: Engineering, Biochemistry, MBA, Sociology, Urban planning

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Financial aid office contact: 1-855-278-5080

3. Capella University

Institutional accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Programmatic accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Popular programs: Counsel and Therapy, Education, Nursing, Psychology, Public Administration

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Financial aid office contact: 1-866-679-9682

4. Penn State World Campus

Institutional accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Programmatic accreditation:

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (formerly the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission)
  • American Psychological Association, Commission on Accreditation
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
  • The Council of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
  • The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

Popular programs: Business, Computer Information Technology, Education, Engineering, MBA

Location: University Park, Pennsylvania

Financial aid office contact:

Phone: 1-814-867-4244
Email: financialaid@worldcampus.psu.edu

5. Purdue University Global

Institutional accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Programmatic accreditation: American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation

Popular programs: Business, Human Services, Health Sciences, Nursing, Psychology

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Financial aid office contact: 1-844-787-3834

6. Rush University

Institutional accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Programmatic accreditation:

  • American Occupational Therapy Association, Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
  • Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc., Accreditation Commission
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
  • Liaison Committee on Medical Education
  • The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

Popular programs: Audiology, Health Systems Management, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Speech-Language Pathology

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Financial aid office contact:

Phone: 1-312-942-6256
Email: financial_Aid@Rush.edu

7. Strayer University

Institutional accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Programmatic accreditation: Nonefound

Popular programs: Business, Criminal Justice, Education, Health Services, Information Technology

Location: Herndon, Virginia

Financial aid office contact: 1-866-314-3547

8. University of Florida Online

Institutional accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Programmatic accreditation:

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education
  • Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
  • American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation
  • American Occupational Therapy Association, Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
  • American Physical Therapy Association, Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
  • American Psychological Association, Commission on Accreditation
  • American Veterinary Medical Association, Council on Education
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
  • Council on Education for Public Health
  • Liaison Committee on Medical Education
  • The Council of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
  • The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

Popular programs: Business Administration, Education, Engineering, MBA, Nursing

Location: Gainesville, Florida

Financial aid office contact:

Phone: 352-294-3290
Email: ufonlineonestop@mail.ufl.edu

9. University of Phoenix

Institutional accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Programmatic accreditation: None found

Popular programs: Behavioral Sciences, Business, Healthcare, Nursing, Technology

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Financial aid office contact: 1-844-937-8679

Online schools that don’t accept FAFSA

The FTC and other government agencies are actively on the lookout for “diploma mills”. Consequently, they will shut down schoolsthat violate federal law.

But not all schools that lack accreditation fall into this category. Here are a few online programs that are popular but aren’t accredited. Therefore, they don’t accept the FAFSA.

  • Ashworth College
  • Atlantic International University
  • Columbus University
  • Hill University
  • Penn Foster

Depending on career choice, online learners may still feel that a non-accredited school is the right choice. But you’ll want to make sure that you’ll be able to cover the cost of enrollment without federal financial aid assistance.

Additionally, keep in mind that some career paths and licensing programs will require degrees and coursework from accredited institutions.

How to find FAFSA-approved online colleges

Schools must meet a variety of eligibility requirements to qualify to receive financial aid. For example, one of those financial aid eligibility requirements is accreditation by an independent agency that’s approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

The accreditation requirement is meant to ensure that all FAFSA-approved schools meet certain minimum academic standards. Unfortunately, some online colleges are “diploma mills” that require little work (or none at all) to earn a “degree”. So, the federal government ultimately does this to protect students from predatory degree programs.

Althoughthe lack of accreditation doesn’t necessarily mean that a school offers an inferior education, it could mean that you won’t be able to access federal financial aid.

Schools that participate in federal student aid programs are called “Title IV schools.”There are about 6,000 Title IV schools in existence today.To see the full list in an Excel format, you visit StudentAdi.gov. You can also compare schools at the Department of Education’s College Navigator tool.

Finally, the Department of Education provides a Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP). Therefore, you can search for each online college by name to see the accreditation (if any) that it currently holds.

How to apply for federal financial aid for online schools that accept FAFSA

Once you’ve found a FAFSA-approved online college, you’ll follow the same steps to apply for financial aid as you would with a traditional school. Those steps are outlined below:

1. Create your FSA ID

An FSA IDis a username and password combination that you’ll use to eSign your FAFSAform. Later in the process, you can use your FSA ID to login to the myStudentAid app. Additionally, you can check your financial aid processing status, sign student loan documents, and more.

You can wait until you’re filling out your FAFSA to create your FSA ID or you can get it ahead of time. However, if you already have an FSA, you can go right into submitting your FAFSA form on the myStudentAid mobile app or on MyStudentaid.gov.

2. Provide your personal information

Here are a few pieces of information that StudenAid.gov says you’ll need as you’re completing the FAFSA application process:

  • Social Security number
  • Parents’ Social Security numbers (if you’re a dependent)
  • Driver’s license number (if you have one)
  • Alien Registration number (for non-citizens)
  • Federal tax information (tax returns, W-2s)
  • Records of untaxed income
  • List of cash assets

Also, it’s important that you keep these records somewhere safe even after you’ve finished submitting your FAFSA as you might be asked to provide them again in the future.

3. List your college(s)

Next, you’ll need to provide at least one school that’ll receive your FAFSA information after it’s been processed. Again, you can use the Federal School Code Searchto find traditional or online colleges that participate in Title IV federal student aid programs.

Although only one school is required, you can list up to 10 colleges in any order. To clarify, none of the schools can see the other institutions on your list.

4. Sign and submit your FAFSA form

It’s important that you sign your FAFSA with your FSA ID for the fastest processing. Also, if you’re providing information for your parents on your form, one parent will need to sign the form as well.

The Financial Aid office strongly recommends that you sign your FAFSA online, but you can also print out the signature page, hand-sign it, and mail it to the address listed on the page. Learn more about how to print and mail signature pages.

5. Review and accept your financial aid offer

After your FAFSA has been processed, you’ll receive a financial assistance offer that details the school’s expected cost of attendance. Additionally, it'll include the various financial aid that’s available to you. After accepting the aid that you want, the financial aid office will apply it to the amount that you owe at your chosen school.

Remember, to get financial aid each year you’ll need to fill out a new FAFSA each academic year. Also, be sure to submit your FAFSA form by the deadline, which is June 30th of the award year.

Related: Learn how to apply for student loans with FAFSA

Other financial aid options for online college students

The FAFSA can help you gain access to federal Direct Loans and other aid based on financial need (e.g. Pell grants which are essentially free money). But you’ll want to make sure to explore other types of financial aid programs for your online education as well, such as scholarships and grants.

For instance, there are several scholarship search sites that’ll consider your degree path, location, ethnicity and more to help you find scholarships that fit you best for online learning.

Learn.org also offers three $500 scholarships that are specifically meant to assist online students, including the Online Associate’s Degree Scholarship, Online Bachelor’s Degree Scholarship and Online Master’s Degree Scholarship.

To find more scholarship and grant programs that could make the cost of your online courses even more affordable, talk to your school’s financial aid counselor. However, if it turns out that you'll have to take out some loans to pay for college costs, be sure to check out our guide to pre-planning student debt.


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10 Online Schools That Accept FAFSA (and How to Get Financial Aid) | Student Loan Planner (2024)

FAQs

10 Online Schools That Accept FAFSA (and How to Get Financial Aid) | Student Loan Planner? ›

Most accredited online colleges and universities accept the same federal financial aid as brick-and-mortar schools. That means that students at many online schools will generally be eligible for aid from FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Do online universities accept FAFSA? ›

Most accredited online colleges and universities accept the same federal financial aid as brick-and-mortar schools. That means that students at many online schools will generally be eligible for aid from FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Can I get student loans for online college? ›

Yes, there are student loans for students who take online classes and even attend college completely online. Federal student loans are the best option for students taking online courses as they have low interest rates, a variety of repayment plans, and the possibility of student loan forgiveness in the future.

What schools should I add to my FAFSA? ›

Tips for adding additional colleges to the FAFSA

Always list public, in-state schools first, as your state may only award grants to students who list a state school first. Rank the colleges you're applying for by application deadline, and list those with the earliest deadlines after the public, in-state schools.

Does FAFSA help with student loans? ›

How do I get a federal student loan? To apply for a federal student loan, you must first complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Based on the results of your FAFSA form, your college or career school will send you a financial aid offer, which may include federal student loans.

Does FAFSA pay the college directly? ›

Federal student loans are disbursed either to the school or to your account before the beginning of the semester. You should receive a notification that the money has been transferred and where it has been sent. If you do not receive any disbursement notification closer to the payment deadline, you must be proactive.

Does Penn Foster college accept FAFSA? ›

Penn Foster does not accept federal financial aid. Whether in the form of student loans or grants, such as the Pell Grant, available through FAFSA, we are unable to accept the same forms of aid as many major universities. Though no financial aid is accepted, we offer affordable monthly payment options with 0% interest.

How can a college student get a loan with no income? ›

Getting a student loan without a job may be possible when you have a cosigner. A cosigner is someone who may be willing to make your payments. Private lenders will accept this payment arrangement. They are willing take on the financial risk when two people make payments.

How to get student loans for college without parents? ›

If you decide to take out a student loan without the help of your parents, here are a few options to consider.
  1. Get Federal Student Loans as an Independent Student. ...
  2. Submit the FAFSA Under Special Circumstances. ...
  3. Find Another Adult to Co-sign a Student Loan. ...
  4. Look for Lenders That Don't Require Co-signers.
May 6, 2022

Who qualifies for college student loans? ›

Our general eligibility requirements include that you have financial need, are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, and are enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program at your college or career school.

How many schools should I select for FAFSA? ›

You can list up to 10 colleges on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Once you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR), you can make your information available to more colleges through one of the options listed below.

How many colleges can I list on FAFSA? ›

Maximum Number of Schools You Can List. Your school list can have up to 10 schools online or up to four schools on a PDF FAFSA form. (You can add more schools to your FAFSA form later.)

What happens if I apply for FAFSA and don't go to school? ›

Does my aid "expire" if I don't use it? Yes, aid will be canceled if a student does not enroll in classes within the term or year that aid is offered. For loans to be reinstated students must request reinstatement of loans via askfas email or student can complete the request loan form.

How much student loan can you get from FAFSA? ›

$57,500 for undergraduates-No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $138,500 for graduate or professional students-No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.

What kind of loans does FAFSA give? ›

Direct Subsidized Loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at a college or career school. Direct Unsubsidized Loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but eligibility is not based upon financial need.

Does FAFSA give money or only loans? ›

The U.S. Department of Education uses the FAFSA to determine a student's eligibility for need-based federal financial aid for college based upon their financial situation. Federal financial aid may include federal grants, scholarships, work-study, and/or loans.

How do I know if my school accepts FAFSA? ›

You can use the Federal School Code Search to search for colleges you're interested in including on your FAFSA® form. You can also find detailed college information, like tuition and fee amounts and graduation rates, and compare that information for up to 10 colleges at a time.

Can I use FAFSA for another degree? ›

Yes, it's possible to receive financial aid for a second bachelor's degree, which can include federal student aid like federal grants, work-study, and federal student loans.

Will colleges accept you without FAFSA? ›

The short answer is no. Applying to colleges does not necessitate filling out the FAFSA, but you will likely want to do so.

Can you apply for FAFSA and not go to college? ›

As we figured out earlier, when it comes to federal aid, you do not have to be enrolled in a school to apply for funds. But, you do have to be enrolled to receive the funds. There's no harm in completing the FAFSA process as early as possible, as long as you're certain of your choice to apply for federal aid.

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